Category Archives: In The News

“Ground Zero Mosque” is important because?

I’ve been out of the news loop for a few days and have only heard the headline – which made me think it was being built ON the site of ground zero.  From what I gather, it’s an Islamic Community center being built two blocks away that has a mosque inside it.  I don’t have a problem with questioning the source of the funding, or even discussing the group’s effectiveness at bridge building. I’m just not clear on if this is motivated by anything more than being anti-Islamic.  If this area is ‘sacred’ to America – does that mean that other restrictions are in place in the area?  And how wide is the reach of this holy ground?

I’d love to hear your perspective – as I’m sure there are factors that I’m missing in this debate.

Check out this video walk through of the distance from ground zero : Matt Sledge: Just How Far Is the “Ground Zero Mosque” From Ground Zero?.

Can you share with me your thoughts on this issue?

Somebody had to talk about it!

Lexi interviews Tonex about his Gospel music career and sexuality.

A few days ago I got a phone call from a friend insisting that I dropped whatever I was doing to jump on YouTube to see this interview.  As a little background to this story, I’ve been a fan of Tonex (pronounced Toe-nay) for about 10 years now.  Tonex’s music – both vocally and instrumentally is unique and raw in many ways.  He is a Christian, but his creations often ruffled the feathers of ‘traditional’ believers.  His music has a strong ‘cross-over’ appeal and often would be found in stores outside of the Christian music section.  Tonex often writes songs in first-hand perspective of a person struggling with addiction, sexuality, mourning, or other topics that are part of life, but not often part of ‘church talk’.  I was draw to this music because I felt “finally, another believer who is using this struggles of his past to bring glory to God and expose the darkness of these situations”.

Tonex has been a magnet for controversy not just because of his writing, but also his physical appearance.  He’s been known to wear hair and clothes in range from a suit and tie, to hip-hop street culture, to goth (including long purple bangs and black painted nails).  The latter often has called his sexuality into question.  In addition to all this, in recent years he ‘retired’ from the music industry citing the unfairness of how he was financially struggling yet his music was selling well.  He also was hit with the difficult transitions of being divorced, his Father and Pastor suddenly dieing, and having to assume his father’s position as Pastor of their church.

Tonex has been out of the spotlight for some months, other than releasing the occasional ‘underground’ music release online.  This interview was the first major news about Tonex in a while.  If there’s one thing Tonex has always done well it’s address topics that too often go unmentioned in the church.  While the theological views expressed in this interview may not be agreeable to everyone – I think it’s important that we all really hear what his thoughts and perspectives are.  Check out the interview (3 parts) below. Continue reading Somebody had to talk about it!

Willow Creek Leadership Summit 2009 – TWEETS!

Today (Thursday) and Friday – I’ll be immersed in some of the richest teaching and dialog on leadership in the business and church worlds. I’m taking notes the old-fashioned way, but I’ll post what I can soon. In the mean time, this is what people are saying RIGHT NOW from the summit.

It’s awesome to see what’s happening here and across the country as THOUSANDS are attending live via Satellite locations.  For those who aren’t familiar with the Twitter culture – you’ll often see hash tags that look like this: #tls09. Hash tags create an easy way for people on Twitter to follow a particular topic. The above listing is a real-time stream of messages that include #tls09.

The great thing about Twitter is that it allows instant communication around topics – in a public format.  I’ve met and connected with other leaders simply by following who is talking about what topics that interest me.  I’ll write more about this soon.  Thanks for reading and always feel free to leave comments below!

NEWS NOTE: Twitter.com is experiencing what is known as a “denial of service” or “DOS” attack.  What happens is people with bad intentions purposely send a flood of requests to a site or service so that it overwhelms the system and forces the entire system to shut down.  So the site or above stream may not show up if the attack is still in progress.

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Why? (I’m gonna get in trouble for this one… so be it)

Why is it that even in the afterglow of such a historic election, that MORE questions aren’t being asked? Surely the results of this election don’t mean the woes and deeply entrenched attitudes and beliefs of our country have magically been erased. Surely we as a country have MANY more hurdles to the ideals of equality, unity, and justice.

Now that we have President-Elect Obama should we all just go to sleep expecting to wake up to a ‘better tomorrow’ (whatever that is)?

Isn’t our math still skewed if Black + White = Black Child but Black + White does NOT equal: White Child? And we seem to be just too dang lazy to acknowledge both. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve heard Obama referred to as the first multi-ethnic or multi-racial president.

And why is it that the main time we make this created concept of race an issue is when it is ‘black vs. white’?

I’m not advocating that we all put on blinders and today be colorblind. I am hoping to raise the awareness of the influence of the idea of race and how prevalent it still is in our country. We as a society are constantly getting lost in the illusion of race and continuing to allow it to divide and identify us. This concept of “us vs. them” keeps us scared about non issues and draws our attention away from the real problems.

Anti-immigration is about money… Anti-affirmative action is about money too… but if we can keep the conversation of these things swirling around race things will stay the same. When you think of immigration rights – what nationality comes to mind? Eastern-Europeans? Canadians? Or when you think about the ‘unfair’ benefits of affirmative action: what group of people come to mind who are ‘getting over’ and in what ways does it directly affect you?

I’m not suggesting that I have answers to all of these questions. I’m hoping that we allow all the excitement and tensions draw us into a deeper conversation about our own attitudes and emotions about the state of race in our culture.

One thing that I noticed on election night was how diverse the crowd was in the non-ticketed area of grant park. It made me more aware of how segregated some of our Chicago gatherings can be. That night was a true picture of ALL of our city – every ethnicity, socio-economic, and geographic background represented in one place on one level for one purpose.

I hope to hear from others on this.

–Darren

I stand in awe… Obama Wins!

Wow… tonight I went into downtown Chicago for the Barack Obama Rally.  There was such beauty in what I saw.  Thousands upon thousands of people poured into downtown Chicago in support of Obama.  People of all ethnicities, social, and economic classes.  The sight of that kind of unity alone was moving.  I also took notice of the impact of technology on this election.  I heard the news of the win as a watched a streaming broadcast of MSN using SkyFire on my mobile phone.

I’ll write more shortly – Obama just took the stage.

Remembering Maria: Mourning the loss of Steven Curtis Chapman’s Daughter

I’m just now catching up on the news of the loss of Maria — the 5 year old daughter of Steven Curtis Chapman. I visited the web site the family has set up in memory of her and was touched by the family’s expression of love for their child and the sense of hope that is left in sharing their loss.

Continue reading Remembering Maria: Mourning the loss of Steven Curtis Chapman’s Daughter